Rethinking the Inoculum Used in Animal Models of Implant-Associated Osteomyelitis – The Formation and Application of Bacterial Aggregates

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Aim: To make an inoculum for induction of Implant-Associated Osteomyelitis (IAO) in pigs based on bacterial aggregates resembling those found on the human skin, i.e. aggregates of 5-15 µm with low metabolic activity. The aggregates were evaluated and compared to a standard planktonic bacterial inoculum.
Method: The porcine Staphylococcus aureus strain S54F9 was cultured in Tryptone Soya Broth for seven days. Subsequently, the culture was filtered through cell strainers with pore sizes of 15 µm and 5 µm, respectively. The fraction of 5-15 µm aggregates in the top of the 5 µm filter was collected as the aggregate-inoculum. The separation of aggregates into different size fractions was evaluated by light microscopy. The metabolism of the aggregate-inoculum and a standard overnight planktonic inoculum was evaluated with isothermal microcalorimetry.In total, six female minipigs were allocated into three groups (n=2), receiving different inoculums. Group A: overnight planktonic inoculum; 104 CFU S. aureus (S54F9), Group B: seven days old 5-15 µm aggregate-inoculum; 104 CFU S. aureus (S54F9), Group C: saline. All inoculums were placed in a pre-drilled implant cavity in the right tibia of the pig and a sterile stainless-steel implant was inserted. The pigs were euthanized seven days after surgery. Postmortem macroscopic pathology, microbiology, computed tomography and histopathology were performed.
Results: The separation of aggregates into different size fractions was done successfully by the filtering method. Isothermal microcalorimetry showed, a delayed Time-to-peak metabolic activity of the aggregate-inoculum compared to the planktonic inoculum. S. aureus was isolated from subcutis, bone and implants from all animals in groups A and B. Both group A animals showed osteomyelitis at gross inspection with suppuration and sequestration, while groups B and C animals had no macroscopic lesions. From CT scans, both group A animals also showed positive signs of osteomyelitis, i.e., osteolysis, while only one animal in group B did, and none in group C. Histopathological examination of the bones showed more extensive inflammation in group A animals compared to those in group B, which showed more osteoid formation.
Conclusions: Formation and separation of low metabolism bacterial aggregates into different size fractions was possible. The aggregates can be used as inoculum in the porcine IAO model, with microbiological re-isolation from both implants and tissue. Furthermore, the aggregates caused a less aggressive IAO, than the planktonic counterparts. Using aggregated bacteria as inoculum appears to be more relevant to the clinical situation of infecting bacteria.
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 2023
BegivenhedEBJIS 2023: 41st Annual Meeting of the European Bone and Joint Infection Society - Basel, Schweiz
Varighed: 12 okt. 202314 okt. 2023


KonferenceEBJIS 2023

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